Ten months ago, Veronica Latsko suffered an ACL injury just a couple of weeks into the start of the 2019 NWSL season. Tonight, the forward is set to play a crucial role in Sydney FC’s Grand Final match.
Latsko was set to have yet another impressive year for the Dash in 2019. Tallying four goals and two assists in 21 appearances in her 2018 rookie campaign, the forward further impressed by tearing it up in the Westfield W-League for Adelaide United in the 2018-19 season, scoring nine goals in 12 appearances.
However, Latsko’s second NWSL season was cut short when she suffered an ACL injury during training in early May. The forward had only played in four games, starting one. Forced to sit out the rest of the season, Latsko set eyes on recovery.
As a player who will do anything to help the ball find the back of the net, Latsko channeled the same focus and drive on her rehab. She was confident she would be able to return to the field early in the W-League season, and the staff at Sydney FC had no doubt about it, signing her on as an international player.
“The beginning of season was pretty difficult having to be patient and wait to finally be cleared for games,” she told HoustonDashSoccer.com. “And even then, it was incredibly exciting but also a bit frustrating because it takes some time to get back into playing.”
Despite the frustration, Latsko faced the challenge head on, working hard to finally be able to suit up and play again.
Latsko made her return to the field in mid-December, five games into the 2019-20 W-League season and a little over 200 days since her injury. Since then, the forward has become an integral part of the Sydney FC line up. She has played in every single match for the club since her return, starting in seven out of nine appearances.
“I honestly don’t know what I would’ve done without both my Sydney and Houston teammates,” Latsko said. “They helped me get through this frustrating transition period and were so supportive and uplifting.”
Latsko has scored three goals for Sydney FC this season, one of which came during the nail-biting semifinal against the Melbourne Victory. In the opening minutes of the match, the forward was raced into the box and slid to get a foot on the ball and poke it into the net, giving Sydney FC an early lead. Latsko’s lone goal proved to be enough in a 1-0 win and now her club is set to face off against Melbourne City FC in the Grand Final.
It’s the 24-year-old’s first professional final, and she’s up against a big opponent. Melbourne City boasts an unbeaten season and a star-studded lineup, but Latsko isn’t afraid.
“I don’t think anyone is particularly nervous about it,” she explained. “I think we are all just so grateful we get to do what we love with the people we are about, we’re all ready to give it everything we have on Saturday one last time together.”
Veronica Latsko and Sydney FC take on Melbourne City FC in the W-League Grand Final on Friday, March 20 at 11:30 pm CDT. The match will be streamed on ESPN+.